I find that pasta dishes are ideal when you’re not in the mood to cook. I made this the other night after a long, exhausting day at work. It was one of those times when cooking was the very last thing I wanted to do and so, naturally, my sweet (and sometimes clueless) husband inquired as to what I would be preparing to eat that night. I nearly lost it. My brains started to boil, my lips smoked, and hot, angry steam began to billow from my nose and mouth. It was not a pretty sight. Poor husband regretted his question.
Pasta to the rescue! Luckily, we had some fettuccini noodles on hand and some veggies and my trusty Cooking Light magazine and, voila!, dinner was made and on the table in no time. This dish may have saved our marriage.
Ingredients: (makes four servings)
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 package fettuccini noodles (or spaghetti noodles)
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
juice and zest of one lemon
2 cups packed, fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (lightly toast beforehand if desired)
salt and pepper
Directions: Boil the noodles on the stove top and set aside. Save about one cup of the pasta water.
In a fry pan, heat the olive oil, shallots, garlic and red pepper. Cooke for about 3 minutes, until peppers are tender.
Next, add the walnuts, spinach and cooked noodles and stir until spinach is wilted. Add a splash or two of pasta water here.
Spoon in the ricotta and add the lemon juice and zest.
Work the ricotta into the pasta noodles. Add more pasta water to help this along. (Alternatively, you could try whisking together the ricotta, lemon juice/zest, and pasta water before adding it to the noodles. This might make it easier to combine later.)
Give the noodles a few tosses and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste and maybe grate some parmesan on top. It also tastes just as good right out of the skillet.
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